5 Things To Do When You Hit Rock Bottom
Imagine how you would feel if everything that you have always had, wanted, longed for and dreamed of is suddenly gone. Gone.
You are overwhelmed with emotion. You are full of hopelessness and dread. You would much rather drive your car into a cliff than continue to live the life that you are living.
How can anyone expect you to live this way, with everything lost?
This is rock bottom. Also known as being down a rabbit hole.
It only happens a few times in a lifetime and when it comes, BAM, it sucks.
Rock bottom means it’s time to pay attention.
#1 – Notice where you are.
Many of us hit rock bottom and don’t even realize it.
We find ourselves in pain and drowning and it is so much easier to have 4 drinks or a box of Oreos or bike 50 miles than to recognize the truth of where one has found oneself: looking up from deep down in the rabbit hole, vanquished.
If you find yourself in a spot where the pain is worse than anything that you could ever have imagined, pause for a second before you reach for that bottle of wine. That pain is telling you something. It’s telling you that it’s time to pay attention. That things are really, really bad and that it’s time to start doing something about it.
I have a client whose husband left her the same week that their kids went off to college. In one fell swoop, after 23 years, she was no longer a wife and only a part time mother.
Down the rabbit hole she fell. And she hit the bottom. Hard.
#2 – Get the hell up, after a spell.
Being in a rabbit hole is scary as hell and very painful. But you also might find that it starts to feel comfortable. There is something cozy about wrapping yourself up in your negative, hopeless thoughts, taking comfort in the fact that your life sucks, that you are a horrible person and that what the hell does it all matter anyway.
And it’s okay to sink into that coziness for a bit. After all, you are going to have a bit of work to do to get out of it so resting up is okay. But sooner or later, preferably sooner, you are going to have to climb out of it.
For my client the rabbit hole was cozy for bit, and full of Oreos, but when she looked up and saw the light at the top she remembered where she was and knew that she was going to have to do whatever it took to get out of it. But, boy, were those walls steep – it took her a while to start the climb but start the climb she did.
#3 – Assess the situation and try something different.
Once you have spent some time in the rabbit hole with your thoughts and feelings you get to know them fairly well. Now is the time to take a good hard look at them. To figure out how you have gotten where you are and not only how to get out of there but to move forward towards the life that you have always wanted.
One of our primary human foibles is that we tend to approach a problem with the same perspective as the one with which we caused it. How can we expect to solve a problem that has dragged us down the rabbit hole with the same actions that brought us there in the first place?
We just can’t. It doesn’t work.
My client knew that one of the things that consistently came between her and her husband was her tendency to be manipulative. She always said that she used this skill for good but her husband didn’t always see it that way.
So what did she try to do to win her husband back? You got it. She manipulated him. She made him nice dinners. She instigated sex and watched Sunday night football. She changed who she was in an effort to manipulate her way back into his good graces.
And guess what. It didn’t work.
When presented with a rabbit hole quality issue it’s time to take a good hard look at a new way to address a problem. Don’t think “I have always done it this way so…” but rather think “What have I never tried before?”
Try it. It can be a very tall ladder out of your very deep hole.
#4 – Make a Plan.
Okay so now you know what you are dealing with and it’s time to make a plan.
It’s time to look at each item that you have assessed as needing addressing and see what needs to be done.
For my client it wasn’t about manipulating her way back into her husband’s good graces. It was about taking a good hard look at what had happened in her life and her marriage and to decide what she wanted to do about it.
I would like to pause here for a second and suggest that this might be the time to hire a life coach, namely me. I can help you assess what needs to be addressed and make a plan for you to do what needs to be done. Just sayin’.
#5 – Keep Going. Do Not Stop.
Winston Churchill said “If you are going through hell keep going.” Wise words to live by.
You have hit rock bottom. You have pulled yourself up and out of your hole. You have assessed the situation and made a plan to change things. You have taken a great big step and then you stop. And pick up that box of Oreos, take a few slugs from your bottle of wine and hop on your bike for a hard five hour ride.
Listen to me. You may have hit bottom but you have also scratched your way out of it, up to this spot in the light where you could get started on what needs to be done. You were brave. You ARE courageous. Don’t let fear get in your way.
Because is this what you truly want your life to look like? You had the strength to pull yourself out of that hole. Why would you let yourself sink back in there? It’s not fun in that hole.
And right in front of you, ready for the taking, is the life of your dreams.
Imagine just how having the life of your dreams would feel.
Pretty great, no?
At some point in our lifetime we all hit rock bottom. We find ourselves in a spot where we never imagined we would be and can’t imagine getting out of.
But the resilient of us do. And YOU are one of the resilient ones.
Don’t let that rabbit hole suck you in and keep you there. Fight your way out, into the light and live the life of your dreams.
C’mon. You can do it!
If you have read this far you must be at rock bottom.
Let me help you, NOW, before you fall any further!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.